I like physical training. I’ve been working out since my youth. But to be honest, I also like when a workout is completed. The satisfaction I derive includes all the immediate benefits of a relaxed mind and body, and longer-term benefits such as the decreased risk of various health problems. A physical training routine is also a huge victory in another way – for most of us it’s a victory over laziness!
Personal Evangelism is like personal fitness training in many ways. If I did it when I felt like it, I wouldn’t do it very often. Yet, when I take the initiative, step out in faith, and share the good news of Jesus, it’s not only a personal spiritual victory for me, it blesses the heart of God!
Yet, to whom much is given, much is expected. As the children’s bible chorus goes, “Hide it under a bushel? No! I’m gonna let it shine!” (see Matthew 5:14-16)
The Great Commission is not optional!
At the heart of the Great Commission is Jesus’ command to “go out into all nations and make disciples” (Matthew 28:19). God’s Kingdom Building Program requires His children, namely you and me, to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ, for “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). And if you believe in the bible, you believe people need to trust in Christ to be forgiven of sin, to experience the abundant life Jesus promises, and to go to heaven.
We have to admit, however, that gospel proclamation is challenging. And we shouldn’t be surprised! You see, we are sinners and in our own humanness or flesh we are weak. And this weakness will drive us to avoid confrontation, potential rejection, and other realities associated with personal evangelism that can cause us to fear the process. Additionally, our enemy, the devil, hates Jesus and His followers. The enemy doesn’t want us to share with the unbeliever and doesn’t want the unbeliever to hear the truth that sets men and women free. Finally, the world system opposes God, so to share the gospel of God is certainly not PC in the worlds’ eyes.
So in light of the conflict between the mandate of the Great Commission to proclaim the gospel and the opposition to gospel proclamation, how then shall we overcome?
In a word – Initiative! Initiative: the act of taking the first step. Initiative comes from personal commitment that flows out of a heart that loves God and loves others. That commitment reflects God’s heart to proclaim the gospel in word and deed.
Heart > Commitment > Initiative….or in other words – ready, set, go.
When it comes to evangelism, we all will struggle with heart, commitment and initiative issues. We are in a spiritual war. Yet Jesus has achieved the victory! He said He would build His Church and the gates of Hades would not prevail against it. And He also gives us the privilege of participating with Him — or “co-laboring” if you will — in His Kingdom Building Program called the Great Commission!
Many believers recognize this mandate from the Lord and want to engage in personal evangelism, yet feel discouraged and ill-equipped. The goal of this blog is to provide biblically-based principles that will encourage and equip you, the Christian, to more effectively share Jesus with those with whom you come into contact, whether in your family, a neighbor, a coworker or even a stranger at the market.
And what will be the win? Well, others will be blessed, the heart of God will be blessed, and you and I will grow closer to the Lord in the process! Now that’s what I call victory!
As popular Christian writer Bill Bright says in his book, Witnessing without Fear: “Success in witnessing is simply taking the initiative to share Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit, and leaving the results to God.”
Wherever you are on your faith journey as a follower of Jesus, in the area of personal evangelism, today is a new day with new challenges, new opportunities, and new blessings that await. Shall we begin?